It’s Tuesday, and I am smashing away at my keyboard, completing a social audit for a client which needs to be finished by the end of the month. Suddenly a foam bullet fired from the nerf gun of a nearby employee wizzes past my ear.
With the practised ease of a veteran, I turn and fire an answering volley of foam bullets towards the offender. Satisfied that the bout is over, I return to my work. At Sleeping Giant Media, such an occurrence is not only ordinary but an example of a workplace where hard work and fun run parallel.
I am fortunate to work in an environment where pool tables, video games consoles and social activities are available and encouraged to be used throughout the day. Though more business owners are starting to take note of the benefits that fun and creativity can have on staff, what is it that we, as individuals, can do to help make sure that our workplace is as fun as it is productive?
Shouldn’t work be work?
First things first, let us address the elephant in the room – saying: “Work shouldn’t be fun, it should be work.”. Not only is such an attitude wrong, but it can also be a damaging approach to take. Instead, adopting a more creative way to manage teams, and enjoying the opportunity to have fun at work, can have numerous benefits – including:
> Strengthening workplace relationships
> Building connections between employees of all levels
> Increasing workplace morale
> Enhancing employee satisfaction
> Encouraging creative problem solving
A lot of the freedom to work in a creative, fun environment comes from upper management. But there is still plenty that you can do to make sure that you enjoy going to work, and are in the best possible space to get creative and smash out the creative ideas.
What can YOU do?
Though enlightened management is important in ensuring that creativity and fun are encouraged, what can we, as employees, be doing to increase this for ourselves? Below we have included some of our top tips.
Reward yourself for a job well done
Punctuating a particularly challenging workday with rewards is a fantastic way of increasing your motivation. This could be as simple as completing a blog and rewarding yourself with a tea, or rewarding a month of smashing out great work with doughnuts for the team! This helps you recognise your own successes, and by doing so, may help others to do the same in the process.
Decorate your area
Most people spend more of their lives at work than they do anywhere else. With this in mind, do you really want to spend all your time in a place where you aren’t happy and aren’t able to express yourself? Some people find that by adding a few choice items from home to their desk, they can increase their happiness at work.
But do stuff that works for you. If that’s a super stark minimalist desk, then great. If its pictures of your dog and an entire shop’s worth of coloured pens, then that’s great too. Everyone’s different – so identify what helps YOU be creative, and do more of that.
Don’t be afraid to leave your desk
The value of occasionally walking away from your desk cannot be underestimated. Simply sitting and struggling away at work without moving for hours can have serious negative impacts on everything from your posture to your mood. Get up and stretch your legs regularly, and you will find that you feel happier, have a renewed sense of energy, and come back to your work refreshed and ready to go.
Make suggestions to improve your workplace
If you spot opportunities for fun and creative work that your business isn’t taking advantage of, you should raise these ideas to higher-ups. Regardless of how unusual your idea (those are often some of the best), bringing them to management shows you care about the company, and you stand a much higher chance of that idea actually being taken up than if you just forget about it.
A great example of this is from a Thiokol factory in Utah, where an employee asked if the entire company could finish early and make paper aeroplanes if they met their quota two hours early. After a little bartering, the manager agreed that employees could have their fun if they exceeded the quota by 50%.
By 3pm that day, the employees had exceeded their quota by 150%. If that isn’t incentive to raise your ideas to your managers and let your creative flag fly, I don’t know what is.
Lead by example
If you work in a job where creativity and fun do not often go hand in hand, maybe there is an opportunity for you to lead by example. If you’re able to show that you can deliver great work whilst also taking regular breaks and having fun, then that demonstrates that injecting the fun factor is a win for everyone.
If you need a little more inspiration, take a look at our blog on why your office doesn’t need to be like Disneyland to motivate people for some tops tips on getting the most out of your employees.